Friday, December 15, 2017
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Adventure Island is adding a slide with a floor that drops out from under you

A pair of new drop slides in an attraction called Vanish Point is coming to Adventure Island in Tampa in March, bringing another gut-check for adrenaline junkies at the 30-acre water park adjacent to Busch Gardens.

The heart-stopping attraction will put riders inside a capsule where they will wait for the floor to vanish and go into a free fall. For those who chicken out of the drop floor, a third slide will zoom riders to the bottom horizontally for 455 feet, ending with a high-speed finale.

This is the first new attraction since 2015, when the park opened Colossal Curl, a 622-foot-long slide with a "weightless wave wall." Vanish Point will be located at the center of the park next to Colossal Curl.

This is the second drop slide in Florida for SeaWorld Entertainment, the parent company of SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Adventure Island. Aquatica, SeaWorld's water park, opened Ihu's Breakaway Falls in 2014, the tallest, steepest and only multi-drop tower slide of its kind in the Southeast. The 80-foot high attraction was featured on Xtreme Waterparks on the Travel Channel.

The name Vanish Point was inspired by the point on a wave where water and gravity form a perfect partnership, a park news release said. The tower will be 70 feet tall and will offer a choice of two 425-foot wave paths once you step into one of two skyboxes.

"These unique ride paths give guests options on how they want their thrills delivered," said Stewart Clark, president of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Adventure Island. "Whether you choose to have the floor drop from beneath your feet, or race to the bottom on a looped slide, the only way down once you get to the top is a wild ride that gets your heart pumping."

The Adventure Island announcement comes after a tough 2017 for SeaWorld Entertainment. With it profits falling while the rest of the theme park industry was expanding, the company has said it will focus more on its rides and attractions while it tries to boost SeaWorld with an environmental image.

PAST COVERAGE: Facing identity crisis and slumping profits, can SeaWorld rebuild?

Meanwhile, Bloomberg News reported Tuesday that Spanish theme-park operator Parques Reunidos Servicios Centrales SA is among the potential buyers of SeaWorld Entertainment Inc.

In August the company was reported to have hired investment adviser Evercore to find a potential buyer. Merlin, the parent company of the Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds, and Sea Life Aquariums, had expressed interest in buying parts of the company, but SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby quickly squashed the idea. Merlin has still expressed interest.

Construction on Vanish Point will begin in the coming weeks.

Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at [email protected] Follow @SharonKWn.

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